PHUKET TOWN: In a crackdown on traffic offenders, police on Saturday night arrested 38 people at a checkpoint set up at the intersection of Yaowarat Rd and Thalang Rd. Pol Lt Col Weerasin Kwanseng, Deputy Superintendent of Phuket Town Police Station, said today that officers set up the checkpoint after receiving many complaints about people dangerously ignoring traffic laws in Phuket Town. “We stopped more than 100 people, including more than 50 teenagers in motorcycle gangs. Of those 100 people, 38 were taken to the station and fined 200 baht each for running a red light,” he said. Col Weerasin explained that about six teenage motorcycle gangs approached the intersection during the night, then tried avoiding capture by turning around and riding either against the flow of traffic or straight through the checkpoint. “The gang members were all about 14-15 years old. We managed to stop one youth who was carrying a knife with a 30-centimeter blade, but he didn’t tell us why he had it.” Officers confiscated the knife and released the boy after warning him of the possible legal consequences of carrying a weapon in a public place. Col Weerasin also explained that officers will crack down on mobile food vendors impeding traffic, especially during rush hour. Police will now be on hand during rush hour to control traffic at three areas being targeted: in front of Surakul stadium on Wichit Songkram Rd, near Super Cheap on Thepkrasattri Rd, and near Wat Thepnimit on Chao Fa East Rd. “We are trying to stop mobile vendors from operating in these areas. If they infringe the law, we will charge them under the Traffic Act and fine them 2,000 baht,” he added. As for merit-making funeral services that are traditionally held on the street in front of the bereaved family’s house, Lt Col Weerasin said, “I understand that this is a local custom but we have to stop them from being held on the street. “We can’t change a tradition instantly, so we will try to explain and ask the families to move their marquees to another site,” he explained.
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